Archive for 2008-10


02008-10-31 @ 22:10

Many years ago I bought the Weatherbox set of CDs by David Sylvian. It’s a beautiful set, with graphics printed on each jewel-case that create a nice extra layer of color on top of the cover. I just came across it this afternoon and was thinking that I am going to miss CDs. They are not as graphic as the 12″ LP was, but I actually preferred their size. A CD feels more personal, more intimate than an LP. Like a small Moleskine book. You can stick the package in a small bag, even in the back-pocket of some jeans. And with so many things competing for BIG (bigger and bigger flatscreen TVs, huge photographic prints, large paintings and giant buildings) it is nice to hold a CD in one’s hand. Weeks or years of work by a dedicated musician or a group… they end up on a small round disc that fits in your pocket. Maybe with a nice booklet. Not a huge billboard to view from afar, but something you might sit down with to explore.


02008-10-31 @ 13:10

Editorial Notebook; Life in the Information – New York Times
Commercials no longer sit still and beg to be looked at. Instead, they become fly-like robots that perch on the pillow and whisper sweet nothings while you sleep. The next morning you wake up craving foods you’ve never eaten. Mr. Dick’s characters defend themselves by keeping their windows closed — and making heavy use of fly swatters. The idea is to get them before they get to you.

I remember them from his books as gen-manipulated flies, that is bio flies (grown) rather than robotic flies (built).

They are still much bigger than flies, more like bats, but they are coming:

Inhabitat » The Solar Powered COM-BAT Spy Plane
In this season of specters and spooks, what could be scarier than a steel-winged robotic spy plane shaped like a bat? The aptly named COM-BATis a six-inch surveillance device that is powered by solar, wind, and vibrations. The concept was conceived by the US military as a means to gather real-time data for soldiers, and the Army has awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering a five year $10-million dollar grant to develop it.

Light drinking in pregnancy

02008-10-31 @ 13:10

Light drinking in pregnancy may be good for baby boys, says study | Life and style | The Guardian
Boys born to mothers who drank lightly during pregnancy are better behaved and score more highly in tests at the age of three than the sons of women who abstained, according to a study published today.

Researchers found there was no link between light drinking in pregnancy – defined as one to two units a week, or on occasion – and any behavioural or cognitive problems in children at the age of three.

Surprisingly, the University College London study found that some of the children of light-drinking mothers appeared to be doing better than the babies of those who abstained.

Hm, I think the above news means, if you are American (Europeans have a different attitude about wine) – don’t glare at that pregnant women just because she is having a glass of wine with dinner. You can get concerned if she orders a few glasses of Jack Daniels, though…

Regarding wine, I am reading Plain Talk About Fine Wine by Justin Meyer, the late winegrower (he didn’t like the term winemaker) of Silver Oak. Great book for people who like wine.

And, there is always a middle path.

Recessionista style

02008-10-31 @ 13:10

Recessionista style
Meanwhile, the admittedly small and elitist slow-fashion movement (inspired by Slow Food) is supposedly a burgeoning sea change from consumers scoring cheap, poorly constructed, and questionably sourced runway rip-offs. Slow fashion, says The Guardian, is all about investing in quality pieces of clothing that’ll hopefully last a long time; attention is paid to whether items are fair-trade, made locally, and made of organic material.
(Via Gristmill)

Thursday, October 30th

02008-10-30 @ 21:10

Rode my Brompton (yesterday I rode the other one, which now sports this saddle) to breakfast with Jon. Haven’t used my car in several days. I wonder how long I can go without a car if I get one of these or these.

Looked up VHEMT because it came up in our conversation and came across this quote:

Man in his misguidance has powerfully interfered with nature. He has devastated the forests, and thereby even changed the atmospheric conditions and the climate. Some species of plants and animals have become entirely extinct through man, although they were essential in the economy of Nature. Everywhere the purity of the air is affected by smoke and the like, and the rivers are defiled. These and other things are serious encroachments upon Nature, which men nowadays entirely overlook but which are of the greatest importance, and at once show their evil effect not only upon plants but upon animals as well, the latter not having the endurance and power of resistance of man.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

I believe that’s a quote from Goethe’s Faust. (Ich lese zur Zeit Gespräche mit Goethe)

I mean, we have known this to be true… but we have not known it in our bones. I hope we can come together and preserve nature for our children and beyond.

After breakfast, which lasted a good hour and fortyfive minutes, I stopped by Mellow Velo and ordered a pair of pant cuff clips like these. My grandfather always rode a bike to work and I remember him having some exactly like that.

Played guitar for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Amazing how practicing creates a physical sensation of well-being for me. Then zazen and dinner and now I am heading into the studio to work on new mixes for The Santa Fe Sessions. I started stripping away everything that isn’t essential and the songs begin to sparkle and shine in a new way.

Powerful Slideshow

02008-10-30 @ 14:10

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Audio Slideshow: Photos compete for the Prix Pictet
A major new global prize celebrating the work of both professional and amateur photographers has been awarded in Paris.

The Prix Pictet is the first competition of its type to focus on the global issue of ‘sustainability’ – and, this year in particular, on water.

The winner of 100,000 Swiss francs (£53,000) is the Canadian photographer Benoit Aquim.

Here – the head of the Prix Pictet jury, Francis Hodgson, shows off Aquim’s work and images from some of the 17 other photographers who made the shortlist.

Watch the slideshow here.

Kunstler’s ever-lengthening moment in the sun

02008-10-30 @ 14:10

James Howard Kunstler’s ever-lengthening moment in the sun | Beyond the Beyond from
(((I have to admire the sober dignity and restraint with which this longtime prophet of Everything Falling Apart is watching everything falling apart. There could be a lot of self-indulgent finger-wagging and told-ya-so here, but he’s not wasting any energy on that. That’s good of him.)))

Related: Kunstler on Colbert and Kunstler on TED.

A traitor to the Soviet Union

02008-10-30 @ 14:10

New Bond girl: A traitor to the Soviet Union | FP Passport
Russian Communists are attacking Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko, co-star of the new film, Quantum of Solace, for palling around with 007, a known “enemy of the Soviet people”
(Via beyond the beyond)

reCaptcha your wasted time

02008-10-30 @ 12:10

The Long Now Blog » reCaptcha your wasted time
One of the inventors of Captcha’s, those funny squiggly words used to prove your a human when you sign up for something, has now put this wasted time and human brain power to work.

ReCaptcha is now getting its difficult to decipher words from scanning projects like the Internet Archive’s and is using the human effort to digitize the words the computer cant recognize. Over a half million man hours a year can now go to digitizing books instead of just wasting your time.

Turning waste into fertiliser. Excellent.


02008-10-30 @ 12:10

Recorded last Summer (2007):

We will put our own video page together and unlike on YouTube the sound will be in stereo. Here is the first vid that was prepared. It’s “Snakecharmer-Binaural”, recorded last Summer during the recording sessions of Up Close. If you haven’t seen this performance, grab your headphones and check it out. Closed headphones like these are best – (Stevo and I always carry a pair with us, and I believe he actually mixed his first album on them!). iPod-type earbuds are not as good, but they improve if you cover them with your hands.

Björk on the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen

02008-10-30 @ 08:10

Björk on the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen | Music | The Guardian
For me, Stockhausen was one of the pioneers who started a new root in music. The electronic root, whose aesthetic is very specific, has its own organic interior, a structure that has DNA independent from other music trees (for example, the classical Beethoven/Wagner/Mahler tree or the blues/rock/Philip Glass branch). When Karlheinz harnessed electricity into sound and showed the rest of us, he sparked off a sun that is still burning and will glow for a long time.


China to invest in rail network ‘as a stimulus measure’

02008-10-30 @ 08:10

China to invest $280 billion in rail network ‘as a stimulus measure’ | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist

China will invest nearly $A445 billion (US$ 280 billion) in its overburdened rail system as a stimulus measure aimed at blunting the impact of the global financial crisis.

The investment is part of plans to extend the country’s railway network from the current roughly 125,502km to nearly 160,900km by 2010, Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post reported.

The Beijing News quoted a rail official as saying that, while the network needed extending, the massive investment was also intended to help lift the nation’s economy as it suffers amid the global woes.

“New rail investment will become a shining light in efforts to push forward economic growth,” railway ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said.

I hope Democrats in Congress are paying attention. Yes, spending money on roads and bridges may be a faster stimulus package, but this country needs to make the transition to greater rail-based transit. Seems like we may be able to learn a thing or two from the Middle Kingdom.

Wednesday Disco

02008-10-29 @ 12:10

Havana Club (The Rosabel Re-Edit)

Audio MP3

From the Havana Club Single.
The original recording of the song can be found on the album The Hours between Night + Day (1993). It was remixed by Steve Be Zet for the CD Euphoria (1995). SSRI released a new recording of the song on the album The Santa Fe Sessions (2003).

The Rosabel Re-Edit came about when somebody from the Epic Dance division kept hearing a white-label (unofficial or illegal depending on who is talking) 12″45 of Havana Club (The Latin Mix) from Euphoria in dance clubs. Rosabel created this longer version.

The Havana Club singles (CD and 12″45) are out-of-print.

MUJI Message

02008-10-29 @ 11:10

MUJI Global | Message
(Via Cool Hunting)

That’s an ad-message one can get behind.
Related: Oryoki and This ‘n’ That

Autumn Moon

02008-10-29 @ 09:10

Mind like an autumn moon…
Pure, transcendent, elegant.
Beyond comparison with anything else.
How could I possibly explain this to you?

– Han Shan

From the Upaya newsletter.

Natural resources crisis worse than financial crunch

02008-10-29 @ 09:10

World is facing a natural resources crisis worse than financial crunch | Environment | The Guardian
The world is heading for an “ecological credit crunch” far worse than the current financial crisis because humans are over-using the natural resources of the planet, an international study warns today.

The Living Planet report calculates that humans are using 30% more resources than the Earth can replenish each year, which is leading to deforestation, degraded soils, polluted air and water, and dramatic declines in numbers of fish and other species. As a result, we are running up an ecological debt of $4tr (£2.5tr) to $4.5tr every year – double the estimated losses made by the world’s financial institutions as a result of the credit crisis – say the report’s authors, led by the conservation group WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund. The figure is based on a UN report which calculated the economic value of services provided by ecosystems destroyed annually, such as diminished rainfall for crops or reduced flood protection.

And to illustrate the urgency there is this quote:

This had led the report to predict that by 2030, if nothing changes, mankind would need two planets to sustain its lifestyle.

Unless you have another planet in mind and think we will be able to move people across space, I suggest we need to start changing the way we do things.

The mysterious cough, caught on film

02008-10-29 @ 09:10

The mysterious cough, caught on film – International Herald Tribune
At Pennsylvania State University, a professor of engineering has captured something less whimsical but no less ephemeral — a cough — on film.

The image, published online Oct. 9 by The New England Journal of Medicine, was created by schlieren photography, which “takes an invisible phenomenon and turns it into a visible picture,” said the engineering professor, Dr. Gary Settles, who is the director of the university’s gas dynamics laboratory.


02008-10-29 @ 09:10

Ottmar. I decided I am not going to buy anymore of your music until you let your hair grow out again!! :)
(the power of suggestion is supposedly strong ya know)

From an email sent to the ListeningLounge.
Well, I hope you are not holding your breath.

Music + Meaning

02008-10-29 @ 07:10

The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, ‘Is there a meaning to music?’ My answer to that would be, ‘Yes’. And ‘Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?’ My answer to that would be, ‘No’.
– Aaron Copland

The Most Valuable Company

02008-10-28 @ 15:10

The Most Valuable Company in the World Today Is – Freakonomics – New York Times Blog
…just like the story about the two economists who go deer hunting:

They see a buck and the first economist shoots, missing by 10 yards to the left. The second economist shoots and misses 10 yards to the right. They shake hands in hearty congratulations.

“On average,” one says, “we got him right between the eyes.”


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